Reports on the continued growth of broadband across North America are daily. According to Pyramid Research, the telecommunication market in Canada generated US$42.4bn in revenue in 2015, and will continue to grow through 2020. Industry operators will focus on “increasing broadband penetration and leveraging high speed broadband networks to offer value added services.”
This means even more apps for business and consumer use, faster Internet browsing, more multimedia services, and creative TV and streaming bundles. For the installer, it means a busy work schedule that includes staying on top of tips and trends related to the telco industry.
One of the most important decisions an installer makes is choosing the products to house the broadband. These days, outdoor aerial and underground optical fiber and coaxial cables are shielded to a great degree. Manufacturers engineer them for a better than 20-year life against environmental and, in many cases, structural damage.
The potential weak point in the installation of cable or fiber is the enclosure housing the demarcation point leading into a business or residence. That’s why installers should look for enclosures made of a material that withstands harsh weather conditions and has impact resistance to match.
A proper installation of an Outside Plant (OSP) enclosure is:
-secure from vandalism;
-easy to (safely) access for technical troubleshooting or service upgrades;
-embedded with screw anchors if attached to stone or concrete, allowing stable and level installation.
Broadband installers should allow room to remove or open the enclosure – especially those that have lids that open wide enough to give unhindered access to the connections within. Installation on a wooden structure also requires anchors or attachment directly to the wooden structural supports.
Keep an eye on the weather proofing encircling the lid or cover. This is needed to prevent rain water seepage. This material must also allow for the expansion and contraction of the enclosure caused by pressure that will accumulate inside due to humidity and the heating and cooling cycle from direct sunlight.
The sun’s strong ultra-violet (UV) rays will break down certain materials used in enclosures. Over time, weak materials will become brittle to the point of cracking. Any enclosure that doesn’t stand up to harsh weather will allow moisture to enter and attack the connections inside. A quick solve is to use UV-resistant material. Also, making sure to mount the enclosure in a shaded or protected location.
Cabling entering the enclosure should be routed to enter at the bottom through a weather tight bulkhead device, allowing any rainwater to run away from the entry point. If the cabling enters the dwelling or building directly from the back or mounted surface of the enclosure, proper weather-tight connections should be used with bonding agents to prevent the long-term exposure to moisture running between the enclosure and the building.
Appearance and aesthetics of the final mounting will depend on the application. Safety and electrical standards are a priority with commercial installations, there’s more leeway for residential builds. Always remember to use labeling or signage on the enclosure.